Just 11 months ago they were tiny seeds in the ground.
But now, thanks to some hard work and nurturing from Mother Nature, the 2013 crop of Risk™ malting barley is golden ripe and ready.
The Rogue Farms barley harvest is underway. We have taken another step in the journey from ground to glass.
The first winter flood of the season came and went, leaving behind some water in the fields and some muddy hops rows. Not that we expected anything more. But just in case we had stocked up on extra food for the Potbellied Pigs, Free Range Chicks and Royal Palm Turkeys. Josh, Rogue resident Beekeeper, moved a few of the beehives to higher ground. The honey made in these hives is a key ingredient for Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies of Mead.
The worst of it was a 24-hour period when there was too much water covering the road into the Hopyard. That gave us some time to catch up on paperwork. Perspective is important at times like this. The terroir of the Wigrich Appellation is almost perfect for growing aroma hops. But it also means putting up with floods every winter. As someone said on our Facebook page, “When God gives you water, make beer.”
One of the byproducts of the Rogue Farms Honey harvest is beeswax – lots of beeswax.
The Rogue Farms Honeybees produce beeswax for a variety of reasons. One of them is to cap off full honeycombs and preserve the honey as it mellows and ages.
Slicing the beeswax off the honeycombs.
When our Rogue Beekeeper, Josh, harvests the honey, he first slices off beeswax caps from the honeycombs. That’s what allows him to extract the honey in the spinner. But that’s not the end of it for the beeswax. This week, he melted it, strained it to remove impurities and then let it cool into solid blocks.
Beeswax has another life beyond harvest. It’s used in soap and candles. It’s also used to build what’s called honeycomb foundations. These are honeycomb designs that are stamped into beeswax, framed and put into the hive. They become the foundation for the new honeycombs the bees will build the following spring and summer. A place to keep their brood and store honey that we’ll harvest again next fall.
Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies Mead is brewed using 5 ingredients: Rogue Hopyard Honey, Wild Flower Honey, Jasmine Silver Tip Green Tea Leaves, Champagne Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water. No Chemicals, additives or preservatives were used.
Click here to watch the Rogue Farms Honey Harvest YouTube Video
This year the Rogue Farms Hopyard became home to 19 colonies of honeybees. The Rogue honeybees spent their days sampling the flavors of the farm and absorbing the terroir of the region. From blackberries, raspberries and cherries; to woodruff, lavender and pumpkins; to rye and corn – the honey they produced is a taste of the terroir of the Wigrich Appellation. From comb to cup, so is Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies Mead. Check it out at http://rogue.com/store/
Click here to see how we harvest our Rogue Farms Hopyard Honey
Some rain kept Rogue Ales Farmer Doc McCallister and the crew out of the fields for a few days this past week, but soon they were back to work planting the rest of the Risk™ 2-row winter malting barley.
The process is often called drilling, because the rotating discs that drop the seeds into the furrows are said to “drill” them into the ground. Drilling next year’s Risk™ crop began a few weeks ago. That first section of barley is now 2-3 inches tall and thriving in the cool weather and rain.
We get some amazing scenes this time of year as the weather transitions from summer into winter. The alternating days of rain and sun create some great images like this stunning photo of rainbow over the Rogue Ales Barley Farm.
This weekend we noticed the Rogue Ales Risk Barley emerging from the soil. The Risk Barley was planted just a couple of weeks ago in preparation for the 2013 Summer Harvest. Pictured below are what the shoots look like.
You can still see the kernels
We also raise cattle at the Rogue Ales Barley Farm. That’s Tygh Ridge in the background. It lies north of the farm and protects it from the winter wind storms of the Gorge.
A freshly plowed field with irrigation wheels
Recently we followed Rogue Ales brewmaster John Maier as he hand-picked Freedom Hops fresh off the bine at the Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard in Independence, Oregon and then immediately drove them 77 miles to the brewery in Newport, Oregon. We are pleased to announce that Chatoe Rogue Wet Hop Ale has been brewed and bottled and is now available at www.rogue.com/store/
We Grow Hops. Taste the difference.
The Rogue Farms GYO Dream Pumpkins have been harvested! Rogue Ales Pumpkin Patch Ale will be available worldwide in a new orange painted 750ml bottles in Fall 2012. Rogue is dedicated to saving the terroir of Oregon hops, pumpkins and barley one acre at a time, by growing its own. YouTube Video: http://youtu.be/-ub6NoWXbac
The Rogue Dare Pumpkins have been picked from the Hopyard and have arrived at the Rogue Ales Brewery in Newport, Oregon. Christina, our brewmaster from the Rogue Ales Public House Eugene, has joined in on the fun – washing and cutting open the pumpkins and then chopping them up into chunks in preparation for roasting.
The average Rogue Farms Dream Pumpkin weighs 5 lbs and 5,217 lbs were brought to the brewery from the Rogue Farm. Still covered in dirt, each pumpkin needed to be washed prior to being chopped, scraped, roasted and brewed.
After a thorough cleaning, the pumpkins have their stem removed and are chopped into smaller pieces using the official Rogue Pumpkin Slicer – the machete. Each slice needs to have the pulpy interior removed and leave only the good part, the outer shell of the pumpkin.
The Dream Pumpkins are then roasted in the Rogue Nation Pizza Oven (tray by tray) for about 45 minutes each. After all the pumpkins have been roasted, they are pitched directly into the lauter tun for brewing. We brew the Chatoe Pumpkin Patch Ale with ginger, vanilla bean, cinnamon and nutmeg. Look for it on shelves starting this October. When you grow it, you know it. From ground to glass, patch to batch, Rogue grows its own.
The hop harvest may be over, but there’s still plenty to do around the Rogue Farms Micro Hopyard. Last weekend Rogue employees, families and friends harvested this year’s crop of GYO Dream Pumpkins for our Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale.
The Pumpkin Rogue Pickin’ Crew
If lugging around hundreds of big orange orbs sounds like hard work, you’d be right. But with everyone pitching in, the load didn’t seem quite so heavy.
Everyone helped load the pumpkins into the truck.
The 77 mile drive from Independence to Newport, OR begins.
Just as soon as we were done loading the Dream pumpkins onto the truck, we immediately set off for the Brewery in Newport, Oregon – which is a 77 mile drive away. Check back later today to see how we cut, roasted and pitch them in the brew kettle.